The controversial Belize Infrastructure Limited is intended to provide multipurpose sporting facilities across the country in a partnership between the Government and private sector. Yesterday the Prime Minister responded to accusations that the vehicle which features GOB appointees and Ministers will be used to “hustle” on large-scale projects.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow:
BIL has been described as a ‘Hustle Vehicle’ for the UDP. First of all, you should know that anything I come up with, I no inna that. Don’t associate me with that kind of thing. As much as I might feel that my creditability is still good with the Belizean people, again I take no chances, so we’ve extended an invitation to the Chamber of Commerce and to the National Trade Union Congress of Belize to appoint one member each to serve on the BIL board. So we will go from 7 – 9. Remember there are already two private sector persons but admittedly persons that we chose. But these two persons Paul Thompson and Alan Sharp – any of you who know them will know that they no play. These are persons of the utmost integrity. So there was already that kind of safeguard, together with the fact that you have the FS, C O Wallace, the Chief Engineer, but we’re giving another layer, by inviting the NTUCB and in particular the President of the NTUCB, and somebody from the Chamber to sit on the Board.
Leader of the Opposition Hon. Francis Fonseca was on Rise and Shine that same morning where he spoke about his concerns with “BIL” Fonseca explains why there is no logical reasoning behind setting up such a private company.
Francis Fonseca – PUP Leader:
This is nothing more that a vehicle for the Government of the day to hustle. There is absolutely no logical reasoning behind setting up this private company to carry out Government work. It is chaired by the Minister of Works, the deputy Chair is the Minister of Sports. They’re talking about building sports stadiums. All of us welcome that. We welcome that. We know we need that in Belize. But there is no reason other then trying to avoid the very same mechanisms and structures we’re talking about. They’re trying to do things through a private company, so that they do not come under the Finance and Audit Reform Act, that they avoid the Contractor General, they avoid the Auditor General. That is the only reason, and we should not allow the Government to get away with it. Belize Infrastructure Limited is a hustle vehicle for this Government, and we should make that very clear to the Belizean people.
As Prime Minister Barrow said, the board will now have nine members.